Magic. Have you ever experienced it? The kind of magic you feel with that very first kiss. Or the magic that exists when you watch him lick his lower lip while he talks to you about the things that matter to him. Or the feeling you get when you observe him with his children, knowing that they are the light of his life and that he never wants them to go to bed without knowing he loves them. Or what about the magic of knowing that when he loves a woman, truly loves her, he loves with all of his being? That magic of sorts is rare and very hard to come by.
The man who had my heart was my magic. He barreled into my life at the perfect time. A time when I was dead inside, and dying a little more every day. I wasn’t surprised by it really because there had always been this thing between us. In fact, if I was a betting girl, I would wage everything I have and tell you that I loved him the very moment I laid eyes on him years and years ago. I have told you much about connections–soul ties, if you will–and those kinds of connections only come around once in a lifetime. And while I had never met him before, I had, in some other time and place. This beautiful, handsome, charismatic man whose eyes danced when he laughed. Confident. Sure of himself. The man who brought me back to life again and taught me my worth. The man who became home to me in a million different ways. The man I will never, ever forget (believe me, I’ve tried). The man I still think about first thing when I wake up and the last thing before I fall fast asleep at night. The very man I said goodbye to just a few short days ago.
I needed closure. You heard that right. I mean think about it, I ran away to the beach to heal my heart. To get over him (god, is that even possible?). And in coming home to myself, I realized I had to let him go in the best way I knew how. I signed a release for our therapist to speak with him and when he didn’t respond immediately, I sent him an email asking him for what I needed (okay, let’s face it, I demanded it). I was determined to see him, one way or the other, and I felt that if we did it that way, it would be healthier for both of us. I did all the prep work. I made the list I was asked to make so that I could say everything I needed to say. I have to tell you it was the absolute longest drive to her office that I’ve ever made and I cried the entire way. And when he finally walked through that door? I crumbled inside. Anger hit me so hard that I was physically shaking. I was surprised by that anger, really, because I had waited a long time to say everything he didn’t allow me to say when we parted ways last year. And when he spoke to me, I could not respond nor look at him because he has disappointed me so badly that looking him in the eye made me even sadder than I already was. I had hoped to feel nothing when I saw him, yet my heart still skipped a beat just like it always has since the moment I met him.
He listened. I blathered and I do mean blathered. He followed every train of thought, even as I jumped back and forth between the time I almost killed him with mayonnaise that was two years out of date to telling him I would have let him fix things had he just come and apologized to me (sometimes, things aren’t fixable, but love always is. Always). Every other word was a very unladylike one (that’s the temper of a betrayed, Irish redhead, what can I say). He sat silently, and though I couldn’t look at him much, he never took his eyes off me. It was déjà vu for me really because he had been present for an important event just last year when I asked for closure from another person; only this time, we were on opposite sides, and until now that’s never been the case for us. I’ve always had his back, no matter how badly he misbehaved. I held space for him because I loved him that much. And while I very much still love him (come on, that kind of love doesn’t go away), I lost every ounce of my composure as I tried to tell him how hurt and devastated I am that he abandoned me in the ridiculous way he did. And that list I made? Our therapist prompted me twice to pull it out, and each time that I did, I refolded it in haste. I wrote that list in anger, and as much as I feel he deserves to bleed the way I have, I didn’t want to hurt him the way he had hurt me and I told him that. I wanted to be damn sure that I could fall asleep every night knowing I didn’t say words that I could never take back. So while I said a couple of things on it, I chose not to say all of them and asked our therapist to shred it before I left.
I was harsh. Maybe not as harsh as I could’ve been, but you have to understand that a hurt woman, a deeply wounded woman, has to dig out the bad stuff so she can heal her heart. I saw in his eyes how badly he feels about the things he’s done, and I handed the last 9 years back over to him (we were friends long before we ever became more), all the while telling him it was time for him carry all the sadness that I had been carrying. I didn’t give him much of a chance to talk, and in hindsight, I wish I would have because no matter what’s taken place between us, it was very unfair of me not to hear what he needed for his own closure. Selfish. I was selfish. But believe me when I tell you I’ve earned that from him.
He’s different. Very different. Different than he’s ever been. And while I was happy to see it, it also saddened me, because I desperately wanted him to be this way when we were together… Faithful. Kind. Loving. Honest. Taking ownership of his mistakes. In fact, I prayed for it. Begged God for it. Pleaded for it on my knees in the most pitiful of ways, only to have him never choose to give that to me. Listen, everything has its own timing, but I’m an impatient woman in many ways, and I know I deserved all those things from him, but at the time, my expectations were too big for him to manage and now I recognize he could never have met them all those years ago because he hadn’t grown up yet. Wanting him to be something he wasn’t was always my issue, not his, even when I tried to make it so.
I brought the journal to the appointment that I bought for him 5 years ago. It’s the journal I’ve written many things in over time: loving things, hateful things, inspiring things, and heartbreaking things. I didn’t feel like I was supposed to take it back to North Carolina with me, so I put it into the hands that should hold it, along with the wooden pen my friend Barry made me just for that book. I watched him run his hands over it several times, his eyes welling up with tears as I spoke. He doesn’t know it, of course, but when I handed that journal over to him, I was literally handing him what was left of my heart.
Before our appointment ended, he gave me the apology I needed (many apologies actually, not just one) and when I got to my feet and walked over to the chair he was sitting in, I know he didn’t know what to expect from me. I took his hand and when he stood up, I held him as tightly as I could, soaking up the love of him, breathing in the scent of him, hoping that I was somehow healing the brokenness inside him in the only way I knew how to. There’s no light in his eyes anymore, no sparkle. An emptiness, really (broken, he’s broken and it kills my soul to see him that way). And when he left? I had to force myself to stay seated so that I didn’t run after him and our therapist lovingly folded me up in her arms as I sobbed and told her that it wasn’t ever supposed to be this way.
One of the most difficult things in life is watching the man you love and care for love someone else (she is not, nor will she ever be, the right woman for him). I know that I know that I know that that was supposed to be me. And the most tragic thing about all of this is knowing how much we still love each other, but yet we aren’t together. I’ve heard it said that sometimes when you find someone again the second (or hundredth, in our case) time around, you’re both ready for each other in a way you never were before. Maybe that will prove itself to be true in time, but for now, I have to let him go because he deserves goodness. He deserves to be loved and adored, no matter what he’s done, and I told his brother that when I texted him asking him to take care of his baby brother in my absence because letting him go, my magic, is the most difficult thing I have done thus far in my 46 years of living.
I wrote him one final letter in his journal and I marked it so he could find it. I’m not going to share all of it, because that letter is very sacred to me and I want to keep most of it just between us, where it belongs. But the last lines of it went something like this:
“I wish you love every time your eyes close. I wish you hope in dismal moments. I wish you happiness, even if it’s not with me because I love you enough to want you to live a life you’re proud of and happy with. I wish you peace during chaos and faith when all seems lost. No matter what you’ve done or how badly you’ve behaved, I will always wish only good for you and you will live in my heart forever.”
I’m permanently relocating to the coast a week from Sunday and I would give anything to lay eyes on him, to hug him, to tenderly kiss his cheek one last time. The truth is, I don’t know that love ever gets closure. Not true love mixed in with magic, anyway. I don’t want to hear that I was too good for him (believe me, I’m very flawed), or that he didn’t deserve me because, in all honesty, he did deserve to be loved and cared for by me because I too love with all of my being. Every single person in the entire world deserves the feeling of unconditional and unselfish love, I don’t care who they are. I loved him that way and would continue to love him that way if the time ever comes for it to be different. Is selfless love painful? Yes. YES! But I can also tell you that when you can find your way home to yourself because you loved that way, it’s way worth it.
Til next time…
Love Letters (2012-2017)
Truly Madly Sassy will be on a bit of a hiatus during my move to the coast of North Carolina. I will use some guest bloggers, who also happen to be my very close friends, and would encourage everyone to keep an open mind because each of us has different ideas about things. Respect is a must on my blog, and I will not tolerate any negativity of any kind (remember, these are my friends). The next time I write for you, I’ll likely be doing so from what is to be my new view. I appreciate your patience as I transition back into my Mermaid Life. Much love to each of you.